In a land far, far away, there stood a cottage. It looked like a gingerbread house, but it wasn’t one. It was made completely from wood. Its windows were painted, and fragrant wood smoke always rose from its chimney. Inside this cottage lived a fairytale grandfather. He was the best at telling fairytales. Children and animals from far and wide would come to him to listen to his stories.
One day, two boys were loitering need the wooden cottage. They didn’t know what to do, so they were kicking over mushrooms, tearing apart bushes, and stomping on flowers out of boredom. The grandfather watched them for a little while, then stepped outside of the cottage and asked them: “What are you doing? Why are you destroying everything around you?”
The boys were taken aback. They hadn’t realized that someone could see them. “Good day, grandfather. We didn’t know that someone was around. We are two brothers, Willie and Victor. And we are terribly bored. We don’t know what to do,” the boys confessed.
“Well, but that doesn’t mean that you should go on a rampage here and destroy whatever you come across. If you don’t have anything to do, sit down here on the bench in front of my cottage and wait for just a minute,” the grandfather replied and went inside the house.
A little while later he appeared again, two mugs in his hands. The aroma of freshly made cocoa wafted from them. He handed them to the boys and said: “I will tell you a story that happened a long time ago.” Willie and Victor held on to their mugs and slowly sipped on the hot drink. At first, they didn’t feel like listening to the grandfather. They thought it would be some boring fairytale that they probably already knew. But they had no idea what was in store for them.
As soon as the grandfather started telling the story, birds flew down to him, deer ran up toward him, rabbits came out of their dens, and hedgehogs quickly scuttled over. All the animals sat down politely near the boys and listened, captivated. When the grandfather was speaking about autumn, suddenly leaves started falling and the wind rose gently. When he spoke of music, the birds started singing beautifully. When he spoke of magic, a shimmery whirlwind blew in from the forest, flying between the boys and among the animals.
Willie and Victor felt as if they were in a fairytale. They were holding on to their mugs, devouring each word the grandfather spoke with their mouths open. They didn’t know if they should be looking at the animals or at the wonders which took place around them as the story unfolded. When the grandfather finished, the animals scuttled happily back into the forest.
“Well, did you like my story, or was it boring?” the grandfather asked the astonished boys. “That was amazing!” they both shouted at the same time. “Whenever you are bored again, instead of poking at everything around you, come back for some cocoa and a story. I will always find time for you,” the grandfather smiled at them and said goodbye.
Since then, Willie and Victor have been visiting the cottage regularly. They always sit down on the bench and call out: “Grandfather, tell us a story!” They’ve realized they don’t need anything else. All they need is the time the grandfather gives them. Because the time parents and grandparents can give is the most important gift to children. It’s magical, even if it isn’t actual magic.